Our next Brand Champion, Tyler Haney, never got used to using her ‘indoor voice’ as a child, and thankfully so. Haney started Outdoor Voices, a technical and stylish outdoor apparel company, in 2013 – one year after graduating from Parsons School of Design in New York.
Growing up in Boulder, Colorado, Haney was no stranger to the great outdoors. She spent her childhood hiking, running, and exploring. Being a competitive track star in Colorado, it was a shock to her friends and family when she decided to move to the East Coast after a gap year to study business at Parsons School of Design. It was during this season of her life that she realized she didn’t want to exercise to be competitive, but to live physically and mentally healthy. Outdoor Voices’ tagline “doing things” became the brainchild of this mentality, pushing the messaging that it doesn’t matter what exercise you’re doing, but what matters is that you’re out there doing something.
While studying business at Parsons, Haney eventually took a position at a startup clothing company. She became fascinated with technical apparel and fabrics, and exploring the science of sweat interactions with workout fabrics. Haney wanted to build a clothing brand that could be for the average active person, that didn’t look phony or flashy, and that could provide comfortable, technical apparel for all kinds of activity. She began working with fabric mills and building a brand that would be for “someone who is active, but not defined by it.” That’s when she designed her first Outdoor Voices (OV) Kit — inspired by the colors you find in nature, designed with technical fabric.
She launched Outdoor Voices in 2013 with a first round of investments from her family and friends. After pitching to more than 70 investors in the first two years, Haney received $7.5 million in investments to create her flagship store in Austin, Texas, as well as a pop-up store in SoHo, Manhattan. Now 30 years old, Haney’s dream brand has accumulated more than $56 million in investments and is an equal competitor to Nike, Lululemon, and more athleisure industry titans.
When reflecting on her early investment days, Haney has spoken about the difficulty of being a 20-something woman pitching to middle-aged men. She developed a strategy to convince a majority of these men to take her more seriously. Haney would bring an OV Kit to the investor, and suggest they take it home to their wives to try out. Once they saw how their wives loved the materials, it helped them understand what women want in an outdoor/work-out outfit, and her odds of gaining investments increased exponentially.
Haney is a Brand Champion because of her staunch determination, and her clear, unique vision for her brand. Outdoor Voices changed the landscape of the athletic apparel industry, promoting inclusivity and wellness – something that has taken over the hearts and desires of the millennial marketing world. Tyler Haney is a true Brand Champion.